No, it didn’t spawn sweet potatoes and baked beans. Those are the sides to this awesome, fall-off-the-bone goodness, sweet with a little bit of kick baby-back ribs. I blew my mind away. If it sounds like I’m bragging, well, please don’t mind if I do. But don’t let that bother you because I’m about to share the recipe so you, as well, can brag about this in your next party to shut your overbearing aunt, or your highly judgmental MIL, or just simply impress a set of good friends over beer as you discuss the ongoing Greek Tragedy.
If there’s one thing food and cooking taught me, it is that nothing ever good comes out in haste. Before throwing my ribs in the oven, I waited for days and some hours. Yes. I took the meat out of the freezer 2 days ahead and let it thaw at the bottom of my fridge. And on the day of, I took it out of the fridge to let it get close to room temperature. And all the waiting paid off once I was done carefully and gently cooking my meat. Look at how the ribs appear to be frenched. Only time and skillful waiting brought that about. Nothing more and most definitely not if I had cooked it a day or two earlier.
Now, I don’t know how my patience behaved with the sweet potatoes and it wasn’t the brightest idea to prepare the them three days ahead. I couldn’t hold myself from trying and tasting it. The sweet potatoes were covered in fork marks before they made it to the oven again for them to be actually called “twice-baked”. It was so good. It was rich and yet hearty and not too overwhelming. I love how savory the flavor was. I skipped the cinnamon and nutmeg like what some recipes suggested because I didn’t want my recipe to taste like a dessert.
FOTB (Fall off the bone?) Ribs:
- A full slab of ribs
- Jack Daniel’s Honey Smokehouse BBQ Sauce (I used Wegmans brown sugar, they didn’t have the JD I want)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- S & P to taste
- Brown sugar or honey (I used both)
- 2 Tbsp of lemon juice (optional)
- Cayenne pepper (definitely optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
- Place your ribs on 2-3 layers of foil giving about 2 inches of room on either end. Pierce your ribs with fork, this will help the flavor to seep in. Rub and spread minced garlic on the ribs. Some pieces can be tucked in the meat if you wish to. Place salt and pepper, paprika (to give it smokey flavor) and cayenne pepper.
- Generously pour BBQ sauce all over the ribs distributing evenly as you gently massage your meat. (Yes, I massage my meat). Pour honey and then sprinkle brown sugar. Drizzle lemon juice on top. (steps 2 and 3 can be done days ahead.)
- Wrap your ribs in foil. Place another layer or two on tope to close it up. You want it sealed to lock in the flavor and the moisture.
- Cook for 2 hours and 15 mins. (this may vary according to the size of your ribs, your oven or altitude). If you wish to grill this, cut the cooking time to 1 1/2 hours. You don’t want your ribs fall off the grill.
- Take ribs out of the oven. Turn up the heat to broil. Unwrap the ribs carefully (you could just take the top foil off). A lot of steam’s going to come out as you try to unwrap it. If you want, you can slice a small piece open before taking the foil off completely.
- Pour bbq sauce on the ribs, sprinkle brown sugar and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the sauce and sugar caramelizes to a nice, dark, brown color.
- Serve and enjoy. Gently transfer the ribs to a platter making sure your tender meat doesn’t break off in the process.
- Sweet potatoes – scrubbed and cleaned
- Vegetable oil spray
- 4 Tbsp Cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Brown sugar
- S & P to taste
- Sour cream or Creme Fraiche
- Chives, finely chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F
- Spray sweet potatoes with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Place in an oven-safe bakeware and bake for about 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. (You want your yams to be a little soft but still firm that it still holds its form). Take the potatoes out of the oven and cool down for about 15 minutes.
- Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Gently spoon out the flesh into a mixing bowl. You might want to leave a thin layer of flesh on the skins, this will help hold its form.
- In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, paprika and S & P until mixture is homogenous. Pour into the bowl of sweet potatoes and mix again.
- Spoon flavored sweet potatoes back into the skins. (You can prepare this at least a day ahead up to this point and refrigerate)
- Place the sweet potatoes back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Take out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle chives on top.